AT&T is listing the iPhone 4s as a 4G device using their HSPA+ network. Also, AT&T is working with Apple to update the network indicator for the iPhone 4s to display 4G in areas blanketed with AT&T's High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) and enhanced backhaul network. These devices will get a maximum of 14Mbps down (on average 7- 10Mbps) on AT&T or any GSM network worldwide.
When and if Apple rolls out a 4G LTE capable phone, customers could see a maximum of 42Mbps download speeds with AT&T. In metro Atlanta where I live, 4G LTE covers approximately 90% of areas I frequently visit. For now I can live with the current HSPA+ (aka 4G-like) on my iPhone 4s. I'm confident in many strong signal areas I'm bound to get anywhere between 7 to 10Mbps speeds. A huge improvement over the 2 -3Mbps 3G speeds I got on my iPhone 4 with AT&T. A look of the map below depicts coverage of 4G LTE (not really 4G speeds but close), 4G (aka 4G-like), 3G, and EDGE with AT&T in Metro Atlanta.
Why is 4G important? Simply, I can now do stream higher quality videos (Netflix), better Skype video calls, attend web conference meeetings via WebEx or GoToMeeting with any hiccups. More importantly, with the introduction of iCloud a lot of downloading/uploading of data will happen more frequently not too mention the over the air updates which I rather get in matter of seconds versus minutes.
Now let's clear the air about what is really 4G. Many OEMs are touting 4G in their product labeling of their smartphones as marketing term to signify faster than 3G speeds or fourth generation. However according to the 4G standards set by the International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced 4G speeds are 100Mbps for high mobility and 1Gbps for low mobility communication. So what I propose is carriers drop the 4G and just the network- HSPA+ (H+) or LTE. This not only alleviates the confusion many consumers are having with thinking iPhone 4 was a 4G phone.